CDC director on COVID vaccine for kids and taking “time to get it right”

Credit: CBSNews
Credit: CBSNews

▶ Watch Video: CDC director endorses Pfizer’s COVID vaccine for kids 5-11 years old

CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky told “CBS Mornings” that she, along with an advisory committee, reviewed a lot of data leading up to their recommendation Tuesday that all children ages 5 through 11 get Pfizer’s lower-dose COVID-19 vaccine formulated for younger children. 

Walensky said some of this data included looking into “the risks of disease, the risks death, of hospitalizations, of long COVID among children” along with how well the vaccines worked and the safety data.  

“There were no severe events associated with the safety of this vaccine and in fact, we see the side effects of this vaccine that are very similar to what we’ve seen in adults, and the most common of which is a sore arm which goes away in about a day or two,” Walensky said. “So the overwhelming evidence for parents to really know and understand is that the benefit of this vaccine so much outweighs the risks of COVID itself.” 

Despite all that data, hesitancy remains among some parents. Walensky said that while she recognizes some parents may not feel comfortable with the idea, the CDC has taken the time “to get this right.” 

“We’ve done the incredible due diligence to take the time to get it right and we know parents have questions and we want to give parents the information that they need, communicate with them and have them ask the questions of their trusted messengers, hear their pediatricians, their pharmacists, and that is where we will be distributing the vaccine,” she said.

With the CDC’S greenlight, 28 million American children between the ages of 5 to 11 years old are now eligible to receive Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine at one-third of the dosage offered to adolescents and adults. Walensky said the lower dosage recommendation came after several clinical trials.  

“So what they have done in these clinical trials is to look at dose de-escalation, to make sure that the younger children are getting the right dose, both to balance the effectiveness and make sure that it’s actually working well and to make sure there were no side effects of it. They absolutely hit that sweet spot at this stuff at this dose,” she said.

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